Tonight the Providence Bruins (24-18-1-6) face the Manchester Monarchs (30-13-2-5) for the ninth time this season. In the previous eight games, Providence is 2-4-0-2. It's Pink in the Rink night tonight in Manchester.
Yesterday the Bruins made a trade that sent the (injured) Carter Camper to the Columbus Blue Jackets/Springfield Falcons in exchange for defenseman Blake Parlett. Parlett will make his debut tonight in Manchester.
This is going to be a difficult game for Providence considering they are without their top scorers (Camper traded, Nick Johnson injured) and top defensemen (Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow injured; David Warsofsky on recall) while the Monarchs just got two NHL players back in the lineup in Martin Jones and Tyler Toffoli. Damn you, Kings.
Now would be a great time for Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser to find their offense again in the AHL. The P-Bruins really need to two points tonight as they are clinging on for dear life in the eight playoff spot. They're just one point ahead of the Hershey Bears, but the Bears have three games in hand.
|Division Rank||3rd in Atlantic||1st in Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||8th in Eastern||1st in Eastern|
|Home/Away||Away: 14-9-0-4||Home: 15-5-1-1|
|Leading After 1||12-2-0-2||16-1-0-1|
|Trailing After 1||4-12-0-0||6-7-0-0|
|Tied After 1||8-4-1-4||8-5-2-4|
|Leading After 2||16-1-1-3||23-0-0-3|
|Trailing After 2||1-13-0-2||4-9-1-1|
|Tied After 2||7-4-0-1||3-4-1-1|
|PP%||21.1% (38/180)||13.3% (26/196)|
|PP Home/Away||Away: 24.7% (21/85)||Home: 12.2% (9/74)|
|PK Home/Away||Away: 77.3%||Home: 81.0%|
If there is one bright spot for the P-Bruins, it's that the Monarchs power play is inexplicably terrible.
Nick Johnson leads the P-Bruins in scoring by a wide margin (well, six points) with 38 points. He is going to be sorely missed. The second leading scorer and current non-injured leader is Craig Cunningham with 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists). Next is Alexander Khokhlachev with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) and Justin Florek with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists). Seth Griffith also has 11 goals and is right behind Florek for most points with 26 points (11 goals, 16 assists).
Beyond that, Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky - both not playing - have 26 points. Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner have 23 points each, followed by Matt Lindblad and Ben Youds each with 17 points.
The Monarchs leading scorers are: Jordan Weal (43 points), Nick Deslauriers (30 points), Tanner Pearson (29 points), Linden Vey (27 points), and Nick Shore (24 points).
In the season series, Jordan Weal and Seth Griffith are tied for most points with seven each. (1 G, 7 A for Weal; 4 G, 3 A for Griffith).
For Manchester, Tanner Pearson has six points and Andrew Bodnarchuk and Scott Sabourin each have five points versus Providence this season.
For Providence, five players have five points against Manchester this season, but only two are playing tonight: Matt Fraser has five goals and Koko has two goals and three assists.
Manchester's Jordan Weal is tied for seventh in AHL scoring with 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists in 50 games). Weal's 33 assists also rank him third in the AHL among assist leaders. Providence's only player in the top 20, Nick Johnson, is out with an upper body injury.
Alexander Khokhlachev continues to improve and rise in the ranks of rookie scoring. He is tied for 14th in the AHL for rookie scoring with 29 points in 39 games (11 goals, 18 assists). Anthony Camara's five game-winning goals are tied for first place among AHL rookies.
Monarchs former defenseman converted to forward Nick Delsuariers is second in the AHL in shots on net (175). In meaningless stats that are one of the few actually measured by the AHL, the Monarchs have two of the top three plus/minus players. Defensemen Vincent LoVerde is a +32, which is first in the league, and Andrew Bodnarchuk is tied for second with +29. Nick Shore ranks among the top in rookie plus/minus with +15.
In penalty leaders, Manchester's Andy Andreoff is third on the AHL with 29 minor penalties. Bobby Robins ranks third in penalty minutes with 162 and second in major penalties with 18.
Niklas Svedberg gets the start in net for Providence. Svedberg has appeared in 31 games this season. He has a record of 16-11-3, two shutouts, a 0.908 save percentage, and a goals against average of 2.81.
Martin Jones has appeared in 15 games and has a record of 11-2-2. He has one shutout, a 0.933 save percentage, ad 2.08 GAA.
Jones' last AHL game was against Providence on January 15th, where the Monarchs beat the P-Bruins in Providence by a score of 2-1. Jones made 32 saves to Svedberg's 19 saves that night.
This season against the P-Bruins, Jones is 5-0-0, has a 0.938 save % and 1.94 GAA.
Up against Manchester this season, Svedberg is 2-2-2, has a 0915 save %, and 2.68 GAA.
I have no idea when Zach Trotman got injured. According to Mark Divver, he is expected to be out 2-3 weeks BUT the good news is that it is not another concussion.
The extend of Joe Morrow's knee injury isn't known, but I'm just going to assume he's out for the rest of the season because it looked really bad. (Update: Morrow says he did not tear any major ligaments and won't require surgery; he will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken knee cap.)
Nick Johnson's injury appears to have been sustained in the first period of the game against the St. John's Ice Caps on Wednesday; he finished the period, but didn't return.
Starting goaltenders, line combinations, and defensive pairings will be updated here as soon as they're made available closer to game time.
For Providence, lineup changes will include Blake Parlett's debut in the place of Zach Trotman. Andrew Cherniwchan, who was scratched on Wednesday, returns to the lineup to replace Nick Johnson.
Here are my guesses for the line combinations:
Craig Cunningham - Ryan Spooner - Matt Fraser
Justin Florek - Matt Lindblad - Seth Griffith
Anthony Camara - Alexander Khokhlachev - Bobby Robins
Tyler Randell - Andrew Cherniwchan - Rob Flick
I'm not sure about the defensive pairings, but the six defensemen will be: Mike Moore, Ben Youds, Tommy Cross, Chris Casto, Steve Spinell, Blake Parlett.
Niklas Svedberg will be in net against Martin Jones.
Providence lines and defense pairs:
Fraser - Spooner - Lindblad
Camara - Koko - Robins
Florek - Cherniwchan - Randell
Griffith - Cunningham - Florek
Moore - Casto
Cross - Spinell
Parlett - Youds
Monarchs lines and defense pairs from what I can tell:
Pearson - Vey - Toffoli
Deslauriers - Shore - O'Brien
Andreoff - Gale - Sabouring
I missed the rest. Oops.